« The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe

Episode 157: A Novel Hero

2020-05-05 | 🔗

What he did was unspeakably brave.  So why then, did no one speak of it?

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey guys, My group, this is the way I heard at the only podcast for the curious mind, with a short attention span, its but so number one. Fifty seven and this one's called a novel hero, a novel hero, a tie, it'll inspired subliminally, perhaps or subconsciously by the novel, Corona VI, which you may have heard of you, ve heard of them Awful Corona virus right. It's crept into the headlines, the last couple of months or so dominating the headlines. One might say: dominating our lives. As I talk to you now in the fifty fitter fifty sixth day of my own personal sequestration, how's it going for you, I'm going to up I'm going to resist the temptation to bring you up to speed with
all of these things in my life that have been unfolding for the last couple of weeks. I don't know why I feel so compelled to share with you. Many of you have asked me for an update on this and that this isn't the kind of podcast that typically does this, but I do conferred ass, it is an overwhelming temptation so, rather than vomit up all of my thoughts and observations regarding what's going on in the world right now in front of the story, I'm about to share with you, I will do so after the story. In the way I talked about the way I heard it so for those of you who tune in mostly to listen to these fabulous short mysteries, carefully curated. For the curious mind, with a short attention span, I'll get to it directly and for those of you somewhat interested in the musings and free associations of yours truly with regard to all things, corona and
little things going on in my own personal world will stick around, and I ll talk about that after the tail. It is the true story, incidentally, of a novel hero and its brought to buy my friends over at light stream. Thank you, light stream for being a loyal sponsor to this point, cast in these uncertain times. One thing is for sure and uncertain times: money is getting very, very, very, very tight and if your credit is decent or better than decent, the odds are really good, you're, paying too much interest on your credit card. If you have a few credit cards and maintain a balance, you should really think about refinancing your debt with a credit card consolidation loan from light stream. I don't talk casually about debt, those views and others podcast, and me personally know that I am opposed to it with them
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True it I'll not obligated to I'm doing it, because I genuinely believe they can save many thousands of people many millions of dollars. Perhaps you will be among them. Having said all that, this is the way I heard it. The true story of a novel hero. Ellen was twenty six years old on the day of the accidents. Chuck was fifty three, the unlikely couple Sat next to each other in the first class carriage holding hands beneath the coat that lay between them. Chalk was in roast and his novel as usual as Ellen watch the english countryside role by neither Imagine their love would be put to the test to. And it's from now Ellen the chuck inside a towel did actress herself. She had fallen the moment she had seen him take the stage eight years ago.
She was only seventeen then and come lately, mesmerized by the way Chuck could hold an audience in the palm of his hand, but be his talent, onstage stage Chuck possessed another quality that Ellen admired even more a heroic quality A quality that made her feel safe in his presence, equality quality would be in great demand. Ninety seconds from now. Sitting across from element? Chuck was Ellen's, mother Francis, unlike Ellen Francis saw nothing heroic about chuck nothing at all. What kind of hero would pay to a girl, half his age Frances recalled Align uttered by one of chucks, most popular Kara there's a line. He often repeated on stage in the course of his power pillar, one man shows I was who cowardly to do what I knew to be right and too cowardly to avoid doing what I knew
to be wrong was shocked Self, a coward and too afraid to do the right thing. France was about to find out. Sixty said guns from now outside the signalman jumped up and down on the side of the tracks. Frantically waving a red flag, France paid him no mind, neither did Chuck who still engrossed in his novel. The engineer noticed, however, and quickly applied the brakes. Unfortunately, a train tracks fifty miles an hour needs at least a mile to come to a fool. Stop and tender locomotive, one- oh nine was already half a mile from the bridge in staple Hearst abroad, age that was currently undergoing maintenance and so exactly three. Thirteen p M Greenwich in time the do
trade approached the staple Hearst Bridge at roughly twenty five miles an hour. Then it ran out of track and plunged into a ravine. The cat ass was unimaginable Passengers screamed and terror, as their cars were dragged off the bridge one after the next witnesses later testified that the pile up appeared to unfold in slow motion as each care. Urge fell onto the one before it crushing the occupants. One car, however, was spared by some miracle. It teetered The precipice, partly in MID air, partly on the bridge inside, were Chuck Ellen, Frances and a few dozen other first class passengers, all in various stages of panic all, but one chuck. No,
longer engrossed in his novel, instructed everyone inside to hold still and remit com. Then he opened the carriage door, and stepped out onto the running board below him were doesn't smashed carriages and the screams of those trapped inside slowly. Crept along the narrow running board to the back of the carriage there. A gap roughly six feet wide, separated him from solid ground chuck His carriage might tumble into the gully at any moment, so he backed up as far as he could and bolted toward gap leaping over the yawning chasm to solid ground. He then run and from the sight of the accident confirming France's worst options, but only for a moment. Chuck returned to teetering carriage with along plank of wood. He placed the plank across the guy,
and carefully walked across it re entering the car first, he summoned Ellen and led his love to safety, then return for Francis, whose opinion of chalk was rapidly improving once they were safe, chalk return the carriage again and again, a scorching, women and children down the narrow running board across the plank of harm's way. Finally, whenever One was safely on solid ground Chuck turned to Ellen and kissed her on the forehead stay with you, other darling theirs work to be done below. For he descended into the ravine. Chuck return The teetering carriage one final time to retreat, his top hat, a flask of whiskey and, of course, his novel he scrambled down the embankment and walked in to a nightmare. The injured were everywhere MA
earning an agony and calling for help Chuck offered with key to the wounded and dying he scooped water from the stream which he dispensed from his top several of the victims died in his arms but Chuck room. And on the scene for hours doing what he could to be of use. Ten people died that day and forty others were seriously injured, including Chuck who developed PETE yes, the long for it had a name. So unnerving was whose experience at staple Hearst he was on it. Well to speak for two weeks after the accident, He also developed a debility in case of Sidra, road from a phobia. Fear of riding on trains that plagued him for that of his life, and yet spite of the national press surrounding the accident and the very public inquiry into the cause of the wreck,
No one wrote about chucks heroism. Why? Because it's the way chop wanted he fled the scene of the accident before The press arrived. He then besieged this the railway company to remove his name from passenger manifest which they did. They were grateful for chucks assistance in the aftermath of the wreck. They agreed to pretend he was never on that train. You see. Chuck was not the kind of hero who did any recognition. He was instead the kind of Euro with away at home and ten children away life who had no idea her huh spend was on a train with a woman half his age, not until his death five years to the day after the day Lee derailment at staple Hearst did Chucks gal
three come to light, along with the details of his scandalous affair, with an actress named Ellen Turnin and when the truth came out, as the truth so often does the good people of victory. In England were no longer sure how to feel about their national treasure some condemned him. Obviously, while others simply refuse to believe a man who had so frequently captured the nobility of the human spirit, was capable of such a rank. Betrayal. Many though lovers of literature in particular, raised his heroic decision to rescue, not just his young lover. His prison active mother in law, and if, you dozen fellows travellers, but the novel
In which he was so completely engrossed at the time of the wreck, not the novel he was reading the novel. He was writing the last novel. He would ever right. It was entitled our mutual friend. Unlike his, Fourteen previous best sellers, this one was packed with a cast of rich and complicated characters. Characters he brought to life not just on the page, but on the stage with his popular life readings Colorful characters like Madame Defarge and Sissy, Dupe Craven, characters like your eye, a heap and Bill Sykes, tragic characters. Like MRS have a sham and Rosa dartle and most of all, imperfect characters like face in Ebeneezer and, of course, pip the flawed hero from great expectation.
Science, who famously said I. Too cowardly to do what I knew to be right and too cowardly, to avoid doing what I to be wrong. Let's turn of phrase penned a famous writer who live the world a collection of unforgettable heroes, heroes every bit as human as he a novel hero they, Charles Dickens anyway, a sleigh. I heard, well good for shock. When the chips are down. He did the right thing. He acted like a euro, a novel hero in this case, but a euro. Nevertheless, a human hero with feet of clay laws and foibles, but that's ok, who among us is not festooned with foible were to this- is that I talked about the way I heard it. The only spontaneous
this analysis of the only podcast. For the curious mind with a short attention span, wherein I attempt to explain the circumstances that led to the writing of the tail you just heard in this case, I think it began a couple of weeks ago. When I was sitting in this very chair where my but is still quarantined and waiting to zoom in to one of those morning shows where I was going to be interviewed about what was gonna plug my mother's book, which, by the way, thank you, those of you who purchased about your father and other celebrities. I have known, have helped my sweet mom become a New York Times best selling author twice she day, Butte at number, eight she's delighted. The book is great. If you don't I have a copy it, you can get it at about your father, dotcom, Slash book, that's basically what I was gonna do. I was gonna go on Fox and friends are good morning. America were I forget, which one and so my mom's book, but.
Before I assumed in there, was another guest Andrew Cuomo. In fact who said the following, he said, and I quote that no measure, no matter how drastic or draconian should be deemed unjustified if it results in saving a single life. He was talking, of course, about relaxing the lockdown and the pros and cons of doing so, and it really struck me. In fact, it reminded me of something I had written a couple of months earlier about safety. Third, if you're a fan of dirty jobs, you know that safety third was a special. I did back in two thousand and eight that examined the unintended consequences of safety, first orthodoxy and,
alleged the idea that telling people that their safety was the most important thing was a good idea. In fact, I argue that it's a very bad idea and that when people start to believe that someone else cares more about their safety than they do you wind up with a sense of complacency that leads to all kinds of occupational and vocational acts. It's so safety third became a rallying cry for me and my crew on dirty jobs to remind each other that our safety was fundamentally our responsibility. And it was also a fun way to stir up a conversation around some pretty important issues. Homeostatic risk risk equilibrium, risk compensation were compensatory risk. All these ideas.
Really interested in, and I was reminded of all of that as Governor Cuomo told the country that nothing was more important to him. Then our safety and, to be honest I just I just found that egregious it's the same nonsense you here on United Airlines when you sit down and these here at United Airlines or American airlines, they all say the same thing here at Blanqui, Blank airlines. Your safety is our top priority. They tell you this moments before they invite you to strap yourself into an aluminum tube, defy gravity by hurtling through space at seven hundred miles an hour. Of course, your safety is not that top priority. Our safety is important. Safety, always right
to say it's the top thing and to say that no price is too high in order to save a single life. Well, that that was hard to listen to. As of now thirty three million people are unemployed, the country is headed toward a very, very, very difficult time ended, Thirdly, time poverty kills. People to this fires is a serious thing and I supported the quarantine when it began, and I support it now in some areas: but I've never supported the idea that we should treat Newark New Jersey, the same way that we treat Bismarck, you know or Scottsdale like Manhattan. It just is never made sense, but that's what we did. That's how we
We started the lock down and now we're having this conversation, that's really dividing the country. People who want to see the lock down to roll back or routinely described is impatient, irresponsible money, grubbing hand to be fair people who are arguing to extend the quarantine there being described as cowardly and uninformed, and it's just fascinating. We're we're trapped again in this prison of two ideas where it's a completely binary world and for some reason it has to be all of this, or were all of that anyway,
I wrote a novel hero, I think, because after listening to Cuomo, I did this interview and shared a lot of the same ideas on tv that I'd sure. Just now, and I got some push back. People went to Facebook to tell me that I had somehow managed to get my head all the way up. My, but you know what they wanted to. They wanted to challenge me on these ideas, which I welcome. I love it, but is very difficult to be understood in a sound bite or a quick burst and so to some people I may have come off sounding flip or glib look. Safety is incredibly important. I know that I say safety. Third, just to stir things up and make people think about the reality, If business companies don't exist to keep their employees safe, that's the reason American Airlines exists and if Cuomo is serious about employing any measure to
I've, just a single life. Will then why not not the speed limit down to twenty miles an hour and require motorists to wear helmets and outlaw left turns that would save forty thousand lives a year, but of course he won't do that. No governor would- and nobody would support that, because deep down, we all know that safety is not the most important thing. There are times when it is top of mind, but never in the history, the country has gone on indefinitely and yet seek Emmanuel. Just said we should stay locked down for another eighteen months and bill gates is arguing for a national locked down to go for another ten months. So look smart people have different opinions. I can respect that, but I can't respect the big platitude newness bowl of warm milk
That says, nothing is more important than our own safety. So I shared my idea about safety. Third on the air and spent the last couple of weeks, defending my position somewhere. In the midst of all that I wrote a story called a novel hero. Why? Because Charles Dickens, I think, found himself faced with a similar choice. A binary choice
he's a selfish guys having an affair is living a lie, he's trying to protect his reputation. He wants to avoid scandal, suddenly he's in the midst of this calamity and he asked to decide. Does he turned tail and run now? He goes back any gets his mistress out that he gets his mistress in law and then he makes it even braver call he goes back in. He helps everyone can, and then he goes into the ravine and spends hours down there as a first responders. Ask first responder. If safety is first to what they say, they laugh safety first is insane. There would never be a soldier or
Ireland or a cop bravery itself requires that something be more important than safety, and so you can get away with it for a while. You can tell the country for a while that, in the interests of public health, we're going to have to do this thing. We're going to have to pretend like safety is the most important thing, but it won't last. It never does in London in nineteen. Thirty nine. You might recall the Germans drop bombs every day, hundreds of bombs, the bombings were awful. The people stayed hunkered down for weeks at a time, but then they emerged before the bombing stopped. They opened up shops before the bombing stopped. They opened up schools,
even as the bombs were falling because the Brits got bored of being terrified. I think something like that is happening in our country, and I think it's important to understand that as we come out of this thing, it's gonna be ugly and the conversations are going to be heeded and one group is going to point to sixty or seventy thousand fatalities, and another is going to point thirty or forty million people who have lost their livelihoods and we're gonna have to make a tough, a tough choice. Anyway, I think that's why I wrote about Dickens. He had to make a tough choice. In the end he went from being a selfish guide was selfless guy and he put other people's well being ahead of his own. You can't do that in a safety first world you just can't I'll be back next week with another story. I think I'm going to try going to try and write one tomorrow, but the situation is fluid.
It's a busy time in a weird time and a difficult time to concentrate, if I'm being honest, but it was nice of you to listen to this ten minutes and thirty second ramble. I appreciate it. Whatever you decide, stay in venturing out be safe about our ceiling.
Transcript generated on 2020-05-06.